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Copycat Panera Autumn Squash Soup

When a nip hits the air, and you’re ready for soup, this copycat Panera Autumn Squash Soup hits the spot. Its creamy texture is silky smooth and delicious. The spices give it a fall flavor—full of cinnamon, nutmeg, and a dash of pepper. And the curry will warm you from the inside out.

This Panera butternut squash soup is perfect for sitting in front of a fire with your favorite blanket and a book! The yellow color and thick texture say fall has arrived. It’s a hearty meal that works well with bread and salad.

I received free produce from Melissa’s produce and light brown sugar provided by Dixie Crystals; but the opinions on the deliciousness of this soup and these products are entirely my own!

Square image of creamy, silky Panera Autumn Squash Soup with french bread and pepitas.

I am thrilled to be joining many other bloggers for Fall Flavors Week this week, be sure to enter for a chance to win one of the amazing prizes provided by our sponsors at the end of the post. Check out all of my posts from this fun week; Fall Charcuterie Board, Gluten-Free Apple Pie, Graham Cracker Crumble, and this easy Pear Bundt cake.

If you are a soup lover like us, you will love these reader and family favorites; like this Creamy Poblano Chicken Soup, another winning Panera recipe Broccoli Cheese Soup and this healthier Cheeseburger Soup.

Are you looking for something for a fall party? This autumn squash soup fits the bill. It’s easy to make and is always a big hit! You can control the level of spice to meet your needs. It works for both lunch or dinner!

Panera Autumn Squash Soup is also wonderful for a romantic dinner. It can be sophisticated or countrified depending on the dishes you choose to serve. So break out the candles and set the table for this scrumptious soup.

Primary Ingredients

Ingredients for Panera Autumn Squash Soup L-R Butternut squash, apple cider, pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, shallots, garlic, ginger, curry, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, carrots, cream cheese and butter.
  • Butternut squash |  The heart of this recipe, providing the fall flavor and color, this delicious squash is from Melissa’s Produce.
  • Vegetable broth | It adds the perfect flavor and you can substitute beef or chicken broth.
  • Pumpkin puree | Not to be confused with pumpkin pie filling. It provides a natural sweetness that is a beautiful compliment to the squash.
  • Apple Juice or Apple Cider | The secret ingredient! Adds a delicious sweetness, naturally! Not to be confused with apple cider vinegar!
  • Spices & Seasonings | A combination of fresh ginger, cinnamon, kosher salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg gives the dish a kick of flavor. 
  • Cream Cheese | The best secret to making this autumn squash soup rich and smooth is the cream cheese.  
  • Brown Sugar | Using Dixie Crystals brown sugar is a must because it adds the right amount of sweetness and it’s non-GMO! WHOOT!
  • Chili Pepitas | Also called pumpkin seeds are made with cayenne pepper, olive oil, salt, and raw pepitas, they add a nice crunch. 

Instructions

Full list of measurements and detailed instructions in the printable recipe at the bottom of this post.

Step 1 | How to Cut Butternut Squash

Wash squash and dry, using a sharp knife on a sturdy cutting board, slice off the ends of the squash. Using a Y Peeler or regular vegetable peeler, peel away the tough skin of the squash.

Process shots for how to cut a butternut squash for Autumn Squash soup, first image of sliced off ends and second image of peels all around a now peeled butternut squash.

Cut the squash in half, then again in quarters to reveal the seeds and “guts” of the squash. Using a grapefruit spoon or regular sharper spoon, scoop out the seeds.

Using a large sharp knife, chop the butternut squash into 1 inch cubes.

Process shots for cutting a butternut squash, with first image of squash cut in half and then in quarters, second image of spoon scooping out seeds and slime for Autumn squash soup.

Step 2 | Making Autumn Squash Soup

In a large pot, heat the oil and add the shallots and saute for a few minutes.

Add the squash, carrots, salt, and pepper, cooking and stirring until the veggies soften. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

Autumn squash soup process shots, image 1 is sautéing shallots in olive oil in large pot, second image of carrots and cubed butternut squash in pot

Mix in the garlic, ginger, brown sugar, curry powder, and cook until the veggies begin to caramelize.

Process shots for autumn squash soup adding curry, salt and cinnamon and adding brown sugar.

Add the water, broth, and apple juice to the pan and bring to a boil.

Simmer the soup until the squash can easily be pierced with a fork.

Process shots for autumn squash soup, adding apple cider and vegetable broth.

Remove from the heat. Stir in butter, cream cheese, pumpkin puree, and brown sugar.

Process shots for autumn squash soup adding pumpkin puree and adding butter and cream cheese.

Prepare the Chili Pepitaas by adding to a hot pan with melted butter or oil. Sprinkle with salt and chili powder. Cook until they begin to pop and stir constantly.

Puree with an immersion blender or high speed blender until smooth and creamy, or see notes below for silky smooth butternut squash soup. Making Autumn Squash soup in your Vitamix makes it so easy!

Autumn Squash Soup process shots of soup in Vitamix blender and of soup smooth, silky and creamy in blender.

TFC Pro Tips

  • Pro Tip 1 | A silkier, smoother butternut squash soup using a Vitamix. A high speed blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec have better motors and blades than your average blender, it is worth the investment. Try this Potato Leek Soup too!
  • Pro Tip 2 | You can garnish the soup with freshly grated nutmeg. If you love creamy textures, try a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche before serving and definitely some toasted Chile Pepitas!
  • Pro Tip 3 | Panera Autumn Squash Soup can be frozen for up to 3 months! This silicone freezer tray is a great way to keep your soup for later, plus it’s best to leave the cream out if you are planning on freezing.
  • Pro Tip 4 | To achieve the same silkiness as Panera, I recommend using a high speed blender and if necessary, puree in batches. Do not fill more than half way on a regular blender, this can cause the top to explode.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make butternut squash soup thicker?

While the soup is pretty thick already, you can make it even thicker. Adding starch will thicken the soup. You can use flour, cornstarch, tapioca, or other thickeners. It works best to put a little soup in a separate bowl and whisk the thickener to keep the soup from clumping.

Is butternut squash soup healthy for you?

Yes! This autumn squash soup is loaded with potassium, fiber, and antioxidants. While it does have some sugar, it’s a tiny amount. If that bothers you, it’s fine to swap it with a sweetener of your choice or omit it. 

How can I make butternut squash soup sweeter?

To add a little extra sweetness, mix in some honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar. I recommend adding a small amount and tasting, then add more if needed until the desired flavor is reached. Adding a little extra apple cider will also sweeten the soup naturally.

An Ina Garten Butternut Squash Soup recipe?

While this is similar to Ina’s Butternut squash soup recipe, this has a few extra spices that duplicate Panera’s autumn squash soup.

Is butternut squash soup recipe vegan?

A naturally vegetarian soup, it’s easy to make this vegan as well. Omit or replace the cream cheese with your favorite plant-based cream cheese, replace the butter with olive oil and you are all set!

Gorgeous black bowl filled with creamy, silky bright yellow Autumn Squash Soup with french bread and pepitas.

Equipment Recommendations

You can easily make this soup using equipment you have around your kitchen, but here are a few that might make this soup even easier.

Autumn Squash Soup in pretty white two handled bowl with pepitas and french bread and butter.

More Fantastic Fall Flavor Recipes 

Panera Autumn Squash Soup pairs well with many dishes. Here are a few ideas that you will love to try!

Check out ALL of the fantastic fall flavor recipes at the end of this post!

Welcome to #FallFlavors where more than 25 food bloggers are sharing recipes with favorite Fall flavors. Our sponsors, Millican Pecan, Dixie Crystals, Melissa’s Produce, Taylor & Colledge, Nairn’s, and Republic of Tea, have furnished participating bloggers with complimentary product to use in their recipe creations that they will be sharing this week. These same sponsors have generously offered prizes for our giveaway so be sure to enter and share with your friends so they can enter too. Be sure to follow our Fall Flavors Pinterest account for more inspiration.

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Let the aroma of fresh apple and mulled cider spices envelop you as you sip this golden infusion. The crisp, lingering finish will leave you wanting more! A naturally-caffeine free blend of apples, cinnamon cloves and ginger. Reminiscent of apple cider, with the luscious aroma of cinnamon and cloves, make this cup the perfect accompaniment to the colors of the harvest season.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway Six (6) winners will be randomly selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. Bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment. Winners have 24 hours to respond once notified by email, or they forfeit the prize and an alternate winner will be chosen. The #FallFlavors bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members living in the household cannot enter or win the giveaway. Entries will be verified. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter giveaway and the contest is open only to US residents. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the #FallFlavors posts or entries. Thank you to our sponsors Millican Pecan Company, Dixie Crystals, Melissa’s Produce, Taylor & Colledge, Republic of Tea, and Nairn’s for providing prizes.

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Square image of creamy, silky Panera Autumn Squash Soup with french bread and pepitas.
Yield: 8 servings

Panera Autumn Squash Soup

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

When a nip hits the air, and you’re ready for soup, this Panera Autumn Squash Soup hits the spot. Its creamy texture is silky smooth and delicious. The spices give it a fall flavor—full of cinnamon, nutmeg, and a dash of pepper. And the curry will warm you from the inside out.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, diced or 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped (medium carrots)
  • 2 pounds butternut squash, about 6 heaping cups (peeled, seeded and cubed)
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon kosher salt (to taste)
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger or 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 - 2 cups apple cider or apple juice (not vinegar)
  • ½ - 1 cup water (if sweeter soup desired, replace some water with apple juice)
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened (neufchâtel works great here)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Heavy Cream (optional) I added about ¼ cup to the entire batch for a more silky soup
  • Fresh grated nutmeg (for serving, optional)

Chili Pepitas

Instructions

How to Cut Butternut Squash

  1. Wash squash and dry, using a sharp knife on a sturdy cutting board, slice off the ends of the squash. Using a Y Peeler or regular vegetable peeler, peel away the tough skin of the squash.
  2. Cut the squash in half, then again in quarters to reveal the seeds and "guts" of the squash. Using a grapefruit spoon or regular sharper spoon, scoop out the seeds.
  3. Using a large sharp knife, chop the butternut squash into 1 inch cubes.

Making Copycat Panera Autumn Squash Soup

  1. In a large pot, heat the oil and add the shallots and saute for a few minutes.
  2. Add the squash, carrots, salt, and pepper, cooking and stirring until the veggies soften 5-7 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  3. Mix in the garlic, brown sugar, ginger, curry powder, cinnamon and nutmeg, cooking until the veggies begin to caramelize, 2 minutes.
  4. Add the water, broth, and apple juice to the pan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  5. Simmer the soup until the squash can easily be pierced with a fork, about 10-15 minutes
  6. Remove from the heat. Stir in butter, cream cheese, and pumpkin puree.
  7. Meanwhile, if desired, make Chili Pepitas. Melt butter or oil in a small saute pan, add pepitas, stirring to coat, toss in a little kosher salt (a few pinches) and sprinkle with chili powder (add a shake or two of cayenne pepper for a kick). Stir until they start “popping” then remove from heat. 
  8. Using an immersion blender (stick blender) puree until smooth, or puree in small batches in a regular blender. Blend until very smooth. If you have a larger Vitamix or high speed blender, puree on Soup function until smooth and silky.
  9. Taste soup, adding more salt and pepper if needed. If you want it sweeter you can add a little additional brown sugar, maple syrup, apple juice or honey. 
  10. If desired, stir in a little heavy cream (optional) and add a bit more broth or water or apple juice if soup is too thick for your liking. Adding additional apple juice, water or broth to taste.
  11. Serve soup immediately, or may be kept on stove and rewarmed over low heat until warm. Serve with a few drops of heavy cream swirled in and top with chili pepitas. 
  12. To make ahead or for leftovers, allow soup to cool completely, then store in fridge for up to 5 days. If possible wait to add cream until right before serving. 

Notes

For thicker soup use less, water and broth, for thinner soup, add additional broth, water or apple juice.

  • Pro Tip 1 | A silkier, smoother butternut squash soup using a Vitamix. A high speed blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec have better motors and blades than your average blender, worth the investment. Try this Potato Leek Soup too!
  • Pro Tip 2 | You can garnish the soup with freshly grated nutmeg. If you love creamy textures, try a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche before serving and definitely some toasted Chile Pepitas!
  • Pro Tip 3 | Panera Autumn Squash Soup can be frozen for up to 3 months! This silicone freezer tray is a great way to keep your soup for later. It’s best to leave the cream out if you are planning on freezing.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8 cups

Serving Size:

1 cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 158Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 458mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 5gSugar: 12gProtein: 2g

The nutritional information is estimated and may not be entirely accurate, at times it pulls information for suggestions and options which may increase calories, etc. Nutritional information will change based on used ingredients, quantities used, etc.

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Soups and Salads

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    kathleen

    ABOUT KATHLEEN

    I enjoy sharing easy recipes that are wholesome and delicious. I am fed by my faith, family, friends & food! Welcome to my kitchen! Read more...

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